Oppenheimer: We Must Help Alluvial Diggers

Alluvial diamond diggers have to be brought into the “formal diamond industry,” De Beers chairman Nicky Oppenheimer said at the recent meeting of CIBJO, the World Jewellery Confederation. “Millions of people in central and West Africa and in parts of South America are engaged in small-scale digging, often in unacceptable circumstances of poverty, at risk to their lives and subject to human rights abuses,” Oppenheimer said. “Neither governments nor local communities, nor even the diggers themselves, derive benefit from these activities. Diggers do not receive fair prices for the product, and governments do not receive their proper share through taxes and royalties. “We cannot stop or prevent people from digging,” he added. “We need to devise ways to embrace these activities into the legitimate, official, formal industry.” Oppenheimer noted that the diamond industry
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